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Healthy Late Night Snacks: Night-Time Noshing

Healthy Late Night Snacks: Night-Time Noshing

Some think late-night snacking is a big no-no! But we’re all for it. There are many foods that aren’t bad for you before bed, and some that can even help you sleep better.

On the other hand, certain foods can have an adverse impact on your weight, reduce sleep quality, and cause symptoms of indigestion and heartburn that directly impact the sleep cycle.

Inevitably, everyone reaches for a late-night snack from time to time. Instead of guessing the right foods to eat before bed, get informed about the do’s and don'ts of pre-bedtime eating.

Below you’ll find information about why eating the right foods will help you sleep better and a list of some of the best healthy late-night snacks that will satisfy your cravings. 

How Food & Sleep Are Connected

How Food & Sleep Are Connected

Understanding the complex relationship between food and sleep is a critical component of developing healthy late-night eating habits. The truth is, what you eat, and drink, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep.

Certain foods and beverages can promote a restful night's sleep, while others can make you toss and turn. For example, caffeine and sugar can both act as stimulants, making it harder for you to fall asleep. On the flip side, foods like lean protein and whole grains, along with certain fruits like cherries and kiwi, have been shown to promote better sleep.

This is because these foods contain naturally occurring substances that work with your body's internal clock to help you relax and drift off to sleep.

Balancing Macronutrients

Balancing your intake of macronutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats - in your late-night snacks can not only help you meet your daily nutritional needs, but can also promote better sleep. Protein-rich foods provide tryptophan, an amino acid that helps in the production of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that are crucial for sleep.

Carbohydrates, especially complex carbs like whole grains, play a role in helping tryptophan enter the brain. And while fats should be eaten in moderation due to their high calorie content, some fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts, can actually enhance your body's production of serotonin.

The key is to choose nutrient-dense foods that provide a good balance of these macronutrients, rather than empty-calorie foods that can leave you feeling unsatisfied and lead to overeating.

Top 4 Healthy Late Night Snacks

Best Late Night Snacks
  1. Banana with Almond Butter: This simple, two-ingredient snack packs a powerful nutritional punch. Bananas are not only rich in potassium and magnesium, which aid muscle relaxation, but they also provide a good dose of tryptophan. Almond butter adds a serving of healthy fats and protein, making this a balanced snack that's also incredibly satisfying.
  2. Greek Yogurt with Berries: Greek yogurt is a superior source of high-quality protein compared to regular yogurt, and it also contains beneficial probiotics for gut health. Adding a handful of berries not only adds natural sweetness and flavor, but also brings a bounty of antioxidants and fiber to your late-night snack.
  3. Whole Grain Crackers with Hummus: This is an excellent snack if you're looking for something a bit savory. The complex carbs in the whole grain crackers and the protein and healthy fats in hummus make for a balanced, satisfying snack.
  4. Cottage Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes: Cottage cheese is a great source of casein, a slow-digesting protein that can help you feel full throughout the night and also support muscle recovery while you sleep. Cherry tomatoes add a burst of flavor, along with a dose of vitamin C and other antioxidants.

How to Curb Late Night Cravings

Preventing late-night cravings is often a matter of making sure you're eating balanced, nutrient-dense meals throughout the day. If your meals are lacking in certain nutrients, you might find yourself feeling hungry again soon after eating.

Staying hydrated, reducing stress, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can also help regulate your appetite and reduce cravings. If you find yourself feeling hungry often in the evening, it may be worth reevaluating your meal plan to ensure you're getting enough protein and fiber, both of which can help you feel fuller for longer.

Conclusion

That being said, remember it takes more than a healthy late-night snack to get better sleep. Make sure you have a proper sleep routine, are maintaining healthy sleep hygiene habits, and investing in the best mattress for your comfort are all going to do wonders to the quality of your rest.

So munch away guilt-free, and sleep easy at night knowing you’ve made the healthy choice!



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